Cisco Blogs

France: Most Attractive Triple-Play Offer in OECD Countries

June 19, 2006 - 2 Comments

PARIS – Recently the OECD published a report about broadband multiple play offers across OECD countries. (pdf document)Who would have guessed that a French ISP would be ranked as most attractive. In these days, when you refer to France, you tend to think more about The Da Vinci Code or about the images of protests broadcasted on CNN rather than about innovative broadband.However, over the last 2 years, France has multiplied its number of broadband subscribers by 5 to reach now 10 millions -which represent more than 15% of population and 40% of households.Download fileThe magic recipe for this acheivement: a regulation favoring network competition and a disruptive player on the market.The French regulator (ARCEP has favored a competition between networks rather than between services relying on a unique infrastructure. In France, the difficulty is that cable does not compete with copper networks like in the US. Therefore the regulator had to implement competition through physical unbundling of the copper over the last mile. The key decisions were adopted during summer 2002. By the end of 2002, the prices started decreasing as the competition heated up. Now there are more than 3 million unbundled lines.( a pro-competitive regulation would not have been sufficient to achieve the results of today on its own. The development of a disruptive, aggressive and very innovative ISP called Free ( was decisive.The offer which is referred to in the OECD ranking is provided by Free : for $32.50 / month, customers get up to 20 Mbps download, unlimited national calls, unlimited international calls to 14 countries including most of the European countries, the United States and China, television with 100 free TV channels and 100 more pay-TV.This is not the end. Free has just announced a new set-top box which will enable additional services included in the $32.50 / month package. First, the new package will include high definition television. Second, it will enable customers to make unlimited calls from their mobile phones when it is WiFi-enabled -in particular the new dual band devices WiFi/GSM or WiFi/3G -and when covered by their wireless home network. Lately, Free also announced it will offer to its subscribers a nomadic wireless broadband access thanks to its nationwide WiMax license. this context, the incumbent France Telecom is struggling to keep its broadband market share at 50%, while losing a significant amount of its traditional voice revenues…according to France Telecom own estimations, VoIP will represent 40% of voice traffic at the end of 2006.On this innovative and competitive ground, the challenge now for France and Europe is to find the magic recipe to migrate to next generation wireline and wireless broadband. But this is another story –

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Good Writing…..Nice post…..Still need to be informative….I appreciate this blog.Bathmate

  2. I enjoyed reading your entry, Olivier. It points out clearly that COMPETITION is what drives broadband, so regulations should be competition friendly and not pick winners and losers of technologies or companies. I wanted to point out to other readers that Olivier’s posting is a milestone. It is Cisco High Tech Policy Blog’s 100th entry since we started the site last year. We are staying consistent with several postings a week and now that we have Olivier (who is Paris-based) blogging as well, we are more international than ever. Our colleague Richard Allan in the UK was our first non-US blogger. So, I hope that our insights and thoughts are useful to reader and I look forward to the next 100 blog entries.